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Crunchy flatbread, ice-cold beer awaits in Hudson

Nestled just off the rotary of routes 62 and 85 on Main Street in Hudson is Rail Trail Flatbread Co., a newly-opened restaurant that has quickly made a name for itself baking excellent wood-fired flatbreads (pizzas) and serving ice-cold craft beers.

Rail Trail prides itself on an everchanging menu of items sourced almost entirely from local farms, and while Lillian and I have enjoyed many different meals at the restaurant, we were able to enjoy an old favorite and a weekly special flatbread during our last visit. Walking into the restaurant, diners will immediately notice one of two things: If you’re hungry, the enormous wood-fired oven dominates the left side of the dining room and kitchen giving diners an unobstructed view to the flatbread baking process. If your primary concern is libation, then the beautifully crafted, hand-built 30-foot bar with over 20 taps of domestic craft beer will grab your attention. Scattered throughout the interior are blackboards with the daily rotation of brews — draughts from local favorites like Wormtown Brewery or Pretty Things, to Ommegang, and from as far as California with Green Flash Brewing Co.

Though wait times regularly exceed 45 minutes on a weekend, Lillian and I were sat in the back of the restaurant after about 20 minutes on a Tuesday night. Our server brought a jug of water, we ordered our beers and sat down to study the newly-redesigned menu. After entertaining the prospect of Rail Trail’s excellent beer-braised buffalo wings, which are meaty, spicy and served on the bone for $9, we decided to start our meal with an order of summer sticks ($6), lightly breaded and fried sticks of summer squash, resembling french fries, stacked perpendicularly like a log cabin, served with a dish of ranch aioli dipping sauce. The squash sticks were excellent, with the breading not overwhelming a hot, crisp and never mushy bite.

Though the summer sticks whetted our appetites, we cleared the table for our two flatbreads. The flatbreads are large, rectangular and cut into squares, with a crunchy crust along the exterior and a doughy center, piled high with cheese and toppings. I chose the Cubano flatbread, a pizza styled after a Cuban sandwich with a dijon cream base, gooey swiss cheese, braised pork rib, thick hunks of ham, onions, deli-sliced sour dill pickles, topped with cool arugula and freshly-sliced grape tomatoes. This treat not only sounds delicious, it was, as if a Cuban had been somehow transformed into the perfect flatbread.

Lillian’s ears stood at attention when our server listed off one of the specialty flatbreads for the night: A cheeseburger flatbread, complete with pickles, lettuce, tomato, cheese and mustard and ketchup instead of a sauce. I was hesitant, but Lillian persisted and thank heavens she did. The cheeseburger flatbread instantly brought me back to my childhood, with a rush of nostalgia as the mustard, ketchup and spiced hamburg transitioned into the perfect pizza. Similar deli-sliced dill pickles were sour and refreshing, balancing out the sweetness from the ketchup.

The small flatbreads run around $12 while the larges are around $16, and one large flatbread is more than enough for two people. With a full array of other items on the menu, from fantastic sandwiches and unique salads, all the way to traditional entrees like fish and chips, no item tops $15. Desserts are homemade, but the bread pudding was a little too rich for our liking, especially after our huge flatbreads.

Said simply, Rail Trail Flatbread Co. is one of the best new restaurants in Worcester county. Terrific beer, great service, a funky but still family-friendly atmosphere, and food that can only impress, it must be on every Worcester-area diners shortlist for your next meal out.